Diablo Déjà Vu? You're not crazy.

Posted by Daeity On Friday, July 9, 2021

(srsly this is all way too freaky)

Do you have the strange feeling that all of this has happened before? Perhaps all of the news and announcements surrounding Diablo IV feels like what happened a decade ago repeating. The good old days of Diablo 3 art team releases, beta testing, Jay Wilson, AAA crunch and layoffs, controversies about rainbow color palettes, not enough blood, gambling, constant delays, Error 37, Blizzard offices being raided, the Real Money Auction House, and how it was "impossible" remove the RMAH.

It feels like D3 all over again. You're not alone and your feelings are completely validated.

Ten years ago, Blizzard staff were calling fans assholes. Even a high ranking public figurehead like Jay Wilson was calling fans and former D2 devs "losers" who should fuck off. And now, once again during D4 concerns, Asmongold is being called an asshole by Blizzard staff (very publicly). It's all EERILY REMINISCENT of the D3 days when I was frequently called an asshole, as a result of my investigations, by Blizzard staff, Zarhym, Bashiok, Jay, Boubouille, Sacco, Joystiq and Kotaku staff, and many others I've forgotten. Welcome to the club Asmon!

Even their promotional and demo videos parallel Diablo 3 videos from a decade earlier almost as if they were edited by the same person.

Do you remember the intense controversy surrounding the Siege Breaker animations contained within the original Diablo 3 trailers? It was discovered that their trailers contained scripted events and animations, like players being ripped apart, which were never intended for the final game.

Diablo 3 Siege Breaker

Diablo 4 Duriel Fight

Demonstrating ignorance of past failures, they did it yet again in Diablo 4. Even the first intro videos feel shot-for-shot like players start in identical zones.

Blizzard is being asked typical softball questions about the similarities between IV and III, but not really providing adequate answers. They only compare "major differences" in aesthetics but rarely anything else. The Skill Point GUI is going to change, but they're still going to use identical Skills, even identical Names, from D3. The skills are also using identical animations and particle effects from D3.

They're still using the Item Affixes from Diablo 3, with identical Item Names as well which you will see in the Retail release. They're renaming Rifts and Greater Rifts to something else, but it's essentially the same thing (similarly, WOW renames collectible crystals for each expansion or event update.)

I found it very scary that all of their interviews seem to be using the same script from decades ago too. The exact same questions and answers are being provided, almost word for word.

Diablo IV tries to fool you into thinking it's an "Open World game" with freedom. But it's not. It's identical to Diablo 3: a game on rails. In D3, you have set paths, directions, quests, and a fixed storyline to follow. Deviation is not permitted. In D4, it's the same. But now they have taken all of the zone maps and stitched them together into a larger world map that you can scroll and pan. But despite this petty trick, D4 is still the same rail-based map system with a pre-determined path and "random" locations or quests. It's technically possible to integrate this feature into the existing Diablo 3 game too, since D4 is using the D3 engine.

And yes, it's using the same engine despite what random internet users might tell you.

Just to be clear, anyone who says...

"I think it's a bit early to pass judgement",
"It's just a technical alpha",
"It's just an alpha",
"It's just a beta",
"This isn't even the final product",
"They're still testing Warcraft 3 Reforged, it will be much different when released",
"We haven't seen it's final form yet", or
"Blizzard will change this before release"

...is either subconsciously lying and have horrible fucking memories, completely forgetting the massive history of this being proved blatantly wrong throughout the entire history of AAA studios, or they are complete fucking idiots who don't have a clue about game development and just spouting goddamn lies and personal fantasies. Enough bullshit. We've all been through this enough times to know the truth. How can they possibly forget so many significant events and contradictory evidence in their lifetime?

Blizzard does not release Alpha games. Blizzard does not have "Public/Private Beta Tests". Blizzard only releases HIGH QUALITY game VARIANTS for promotional purposes.

If you played one of their real internal beta tests, you'd shit your pants, the internet would be aflame, and journalists would criticize how awful the game will be. Journalists and Consumers are not entitled to these products and they will not be given tools that could possibly hurt Blizzard sales. They are nothing more than marketing tools themselves, utilized by Blizzard how they see fit.

The "Alpha" and "Beta" games you see are in fact Pre-Release editions in disguise. Even a significant portion of the graphics, game, and UI have already been changed prior to that "alpha" product using earlier art. You're just helping to sell the game, and your "welcome recommendations and player feedback" are promptly ignored. This has always been the way.

Back on the subject of the Diablo IV Engine. As mentioned it's using the original D3 engine but an "engine" has many parts and both D3 and D4 have multiple engines running in parallel. The graphics engine is new, for example. There's a new rendering pipeline, lighting and shader system, improved scaling features and physics, and other minor stuff like weather systems. But as a whole, it's still the original D3 engine and back-end but with some modernizations due to its age. Despite what anyone says, it would be highly accurate to call it a "reskinned Diablo 3 engine". When the art team says that they're using a new engine, they're referring to the graphics engine, so it's not "technically lying."

Those who claim "That's not true, Blizzard said this" or "Blizzard can't lie to their shareholders.. it's illegal!!" are naive morons who don't know anything about how businesses operate. "Marketing" is lying and manipulation, plain and simple. Businesses can spin narratives, bend the truth, twist facts, trick consumers, and outright lie to shareholders without any consequences. When readers were first told this 10 years ago, it was met with hostility, anger, and disbelief. But I think most fans are finally beginning to see just how common this really is, thanks to certain events over the past few years.

With the promotional media you've seen of Diablo IV so far, what you see right now is what you're going to get. And, I don't mean the UI, menus, and skill trees. Those are going to change, but everything else is going to be the same. You'll see when the retail version is released, unless they make significant design changes. D4 will indeed have more gritty and gross Path of Exile inspired art assets, and like D2. But it's a fools errand.

Yes, Diablo 2 was gritty and dark. BUT THAT'S NOT THE REASON WHY PEOPLE LOVED IT.

The artwork in D2 could have been completed changed, even to the D3 color scheme, and players at the time would have still loved it. The main problem is that current leadership believe that it was brutal graphics and dark environments that made the game so successful, so they are relying on this factor alone. Unless they change everything else about the game (ie, the main game loop), they're going to have the exact same issues and complaints as D3. The game vision is the problem. Or more precisely, the visionary. It's not coming from the Game Director, he's just being told what to do. The vision is Brack's. But he does not have an understanding of proper game design and the true reason behind Diablo 2's success. His hang up on nostalgia is going to bury the game, and the D4 Game Director will be the one taking the blame on this one.

Classic WOW Subscriber Figures: Never Say Never

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, July 25, 2019

Next month, Classic WOW will be launching and there's a ton of excitement about the number of returning players. I'm also excited to know how many will be back, but I had one burning question that was more important: will Blizzard report their World of Warcraft subscriber numbers again?

Back in 2015, Blizzard promised that they would never again publish their subscriber numbers because they claimed it wasn't a good indicator of World of Warcraft's success. Yeah, I know. It was stupid and they thought we were idiots.

"Note that this is the last quarter that we plan to provide subscriber numbers. There are other metrics that are better indicators of the overall Blizzard business performance."

Coincidentally during this time, Microsoft also announced that they would no longer provide XBOX sales figures, instead opting for the more accurate subscription data. Meanwhile, Activision announced they would no longer provide subscription data and provide engagement data instead. Blizzard on the other hand promised that they provide more accurate metrics that more appropriately measured the success of their games. Those metrics? Unspecified. And, they change on every whim and every quarter.


Classic WOW Subscriber Count

I think that if Classic WOW achieves a certain metric, then yes, they will announce subscription figures... in some way. They'll make use of a loophole of sorts too: "Well, we promised we would never do this again, but this has nothing to do with World of Warcraft. We're announce subscription figures for the other World of Warcraft. We're completely absolved." Or maybe they'll just say that "Over X players have returned" rather than calling them subscribers.

It will have to be a big number though. Jabracki really wants Classic WOW to fail and he's budgeted next-to-nothing for Classic WOW marketing and promotions. In a way, Classic WOW could be that much greater a success given the fact that the company itself is actively working against it's success. If it succeeds, it was against overwhelming odds.

Obviously if something crazy happens, like they achieve 5 million players, then they'll definitely NEED to announce it. Even if Jabracki "doesn't wanna". But, I think that the target metric will likely be a minimum of one million returning players and ideally retained for at least a couple months. But, then again, when have they ever cared about retention metrics in their announcements or shareholder exaggerations?

Currently, World of Warcraft has less than 1 million subscribers. Back in 2015, they claimed to have 5.5 million subscribers. During this time, they were in the midst of a rapidly declining playerbase and were fully aware that it was irreparable. That figure wasn't exactly accurate as well.

When a company provides what they call "Monthly Active Users" or "Subscribers", but then have to legally define precisely what they mean by those "fictional words" within a 30-page legal document, then you know there's something up. And when mentioning the existence of said "definitions" are buried deep within fine print, while the actual definitions are in hiding or difficult to access, then you know that those figures are incredibly suspect and untrustworthy.

Even after massive redactions, heavily skewed metrics and further juking of stats, it still wasn't enough to conceal the embarrassment. Hence the new plan to "never speak of it again." On the day of the announcement, subscriber counts were closer to half of those final figures.

It Is Known

For a long time, this was one of those funny things that Blizzard was very well-known for: World of Warcraft®: Subscriptions™

Always questionable, like many things they said. Except never questioned by Blizzard cheerleaders and fanbois. They eat it all up, drink the blue kool-aid, and believe every single word Blizzard says.

beacuase there a public company they cannot lie ever. this is fact!!!..; no comapny can ever lie to customers or there investors beacuase it tis illegal and no company ever lies ever. they also cannot make any misleading statemants ether. ist called SECRUTIES FRUAD!! its impossible for anyone to do this so ono no one does it... r u stupd?

They are many other terms or words that Blizzard is also very well known for. For example:

1. "Soon™, Very Soon™, and Soon-ish™". This is the act of teasing delivery without any commitment or solid plans. Often, they tease something that will never materialize, leading to immense disappointment.

2. "When It's Ready". Their habit of delivering a project far out of schedule and not actually ready. Especially servers, infrastructure, and backbone support.

3. "Fun Detected", "Incoming Nerf". Boy, it's incredibly fun destroying the happiness of others, which Blizzard keenly learned when StarCraft 2 melted all of those expensive video cards. Now, Blizzard finds and destroys fun and engaging gameplay elements or mechanics within a game that's not supposed to have any of those elements.

4. "Banhammer". Blizzard swinging around the good ol' banhammer, which is really just an automated system that often strikes down innocent bystanders or is otherwise exploited by a cabal of players, led by a streamer, to ban players that don't give the streamer their gold and worship.

5. "Get Hyped!", "Get Excited!", "The Best Expansion Yet!". There's always a promise that the next one is always better, and that even though things are really bad now, it will get better. We promise. It's always the next time right? The next one will fix all of your problems.

In fact, this is just a strategy used by sleazy marketers, drug dealers, and deadbeat dads. It's usually promised by an individual known for failure and constant disappointment. Like that father who's never around but keeps promising his son that fishing trip that will never happen. Instead, he's lying down in a ditch outside the local bar trying to figure out what the hell happened to BFA crafting professions.

6. "Bobby's Bitch". The completely rational and sensible belief by most gamers that Blizzard has been heavily corrupted influenced by Bobby Kotick and the Activision Gang. This is a very long and complicated story, but the most basic answer to this is that there were key individuals (not the company as a whole) who wanted to appease Activision's investors and suck off the bosses. Although some employees who shared Bob's vision did rise in power within Blizzard, and some other key players were converted, Blizzard would have ended up this way even if Activision had never existed. It's the nature of these beasts. When they grow old, stagnant, and desperate, they copy and steal from shady competitors that are trending in success. It happens everywhere. The theft of OC in forums, or even streamers and influencers who now only steal content or create "reaction to reaction" videos.

7. Blizzard "It Was A Difficult Decision" Entertainment. Another classic. Mass layoffs here, mass layoffs there, and more mass layoffs that aren't really "mass layoffs" because Blizzard would never do that. More recently, there are even more mass layoffs in the midst of record revenue. Firing people that want to make fun games and therefore aren't towing the company line. Destroying eSports due to incompetence, or cancelling projects due to incompetence. It's a very very long discussion, but in the end, incompetence is probably the most simple word to describe what happened.

Speaking of mass layoffs! Many moons ago this blog was under fire by Blizzard, Joystiq, and large media outfits. These are just some of the official statements made in reference to mass layoff claims, that were immediately refuted by Joystiq and Blizzard, but later confirmed to be in fact true.

"The vast majority named in that article are at work today. FB profiles can't be used to confirm anything, especially a mass trend @PennyRush" [LINK]

- Jon Brown (aka Blizzard's Zarhym), November 2011, stating that big data from social media companies can't possibly be used to confirm trends of any kind.

"@talkingcongas I seriously hate that Daeity person" [LINK]

- Mike Sacco (Joystiq's Most Reputable Blizzard Writer), November 2011, stating his immense hate for the blog while his employer continued to steal it's content. Formerly of the viral Anti-#GamerGate Borderlands-racism fame.

You know, you when carefully look at all of those things that Blizzard is most famous for, you realize they have a common trait: it comes down to what they say. This is what's called, The Blizzard Promise™.

The Blizzard Promise™ has been around forever. This is when a Blizzard employee publicly states that something will definitely happen, but never does. Sometimes it's a huge mistake, an intentional misleading statement, deception, or a lie. But usually, it's something they say because it appeals to the masses or they say it to quell anger. It may or may not happen because it was just a fun idea at the time. But most importantly, it's a way to build up hype and excitement without the commitment, hoping that their customers will forget. And, they do.

It reminds me a lot of Soon™. Soon™ was a necessity. After so many failed launched dates and releases, they had to start using the term instead of their frequent promises of release dates. However, they never applied this same common sense to features or elements within their games. So now, they've made thousands of promises for features that never happened.

For my next post, I think I'll list out Blizzard Promises™ from the past. Some things shouldn't be forgotten.

Those Holy Crosses are Blasphemous, Sometimes..

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, July 17, 2019

This is outside the typical wheelhouse of this blog, but I can't resist writing about it. The other day while I was driving along the 405, I ended up behind a rather interesting vehicle. It was a ridiculously-lifted neon-colored pickup truck, something you don't see very often around these parts, plastered with faded bumper stickers and decals everywhere. But they were a local. CA plates and built for the climate since the rear windows were cut out exposing the interior.

This truck was must've been blessed by the Almighty Himself. Most of the bumper stickers were religious Jesus Loves and Jesus Fish-related plus some old dilapidated GOP brandings. And, I could have sworn that rhinestones were glued to the panels.

But this amazing spectacle was nothing. Something else clearly stood out over all of this trash and glitter: a massive gaudy wooden cross hanging off their rear-view mirror. It was huge, and must've weighed 10 lbs depending on the type of wood.

I thought to myself: what would possess a person to have something that's clearly impractical and probably dangerous? The wooden cross was swinging back-and-forth, nearly smacking the driver on turns.

Typically, crosses are used from completely impractical reasons. An actual practical reason, for example, would be placing a Holy Cross on a building to publicly identify it as a church and the religion.

However, based on research and surveys, the primary reasons why crosses are used are:

1. to put on display for others to see, like jewelry.
2. for divine protection, good luck, or warding off evil.

In monotheistic religions, the most important and critical rules is that there is only one God. To believe in, or put your faith in, some other type of supernatural power within the universe is idol worship. Idolatry is the biggest no-no and considered an abomination. It's one of the worst things you can do in monotheistic religions.

When you step back and look at how crosses are used within this context, the reasoning behind the activity is quite intriguing. So essentially, crosses are really used for the following reasons:

1. selfish vanity or showing off to others in pride. As in, one of the "seven deadly sins",
2. believing that a physical object contains a supernatural power (other than God) that protects them from harm,
3. or putting their faith in the supernatural power of a piece of wood rather than their God. It's textbook idolatry.

Whatever the case, it's done for completely selfish and sinful reasons. In fact, it's the worst sin possible. Worse than witchcraft and murder according to the bible.

Think about that for a moment. Even believing in luck, karma, fate, or various superstitions is idol worship. Having crosses, angels, figurines, saints, dream-catchers, lucky objects, or anything else within your household that you believe protects you or brings good luck, is textbook idolatry. It's all very clearly stated in the bible that these are abominations. Yet, it's still prevalent in all worldwide religions. The majority of these groups are doing the exact opposite of what they claim they are doing. There's a word for that.

But even beyond that, there's more to this. It doesn't matter what the belief system of the Glorious Holy Roller was because their skewed belief was not skewed or incorrect at all in their mind. Most groups (ie, people within these groups) know very little about their own belief structure. They may claim to be diligent members, but still act accordingly to how their group behaves. However, the group behaves based on how they are incorrectly depicted within the media. They've been bombarded with incorrect information their entire lives, and it was altered their perception of how they should act and what they believe. No original thought, no questions, just another foolish slave to entertainment.

In the end, that's truly the only group that all humans belong to. Everyone thinks they're in separate unique groups and tribes, with their own belief systems, but that's actually the belief system of the group that they're actually within.